Hilda Erasmus: Foundation Phase Specialist
We live in an age of computers and technology. Why is it still necessary for our children to learn how to write in cursive? It’s so old-fashioned. Is it not time to move these old habits aside?
Year in and year out teachers and parents are frustrated when they have to teach children how to write in cursive, but if it’s still in the curriculum it must be worthwhile.
According to a study done by Graham and Santangelo1 learning to write in cursive can be a valuable skill. We list the five reasons why below:
- It is good for your brain
Writing in print only activates one part of the brain, while writing in cursive activates different parts of your brain. It stimulates fine motor skills that help add letters together. So, instead of seeing letters as single sounds, they begin to form groups in the brain that sees and recognises words as a whole.
- You’ll have to sign your own name one day
It might not sound like a worthy reason, but cursive writing gives each person a unique style. A signature that is made in your unique cursive writing is much more difficult to forge than a signature made in print or block letters. To sign your own name in cursive is like a small unique artwork that you can use over and over again without anyone making a perfect copy of it.
- You’ll be able to read old documents
There are many old documents and manuscripts or even old family letters that are written in cursive. If we do not learn how to write in cursive, these documents will become hieroglyphs that no one will be able to read.
- It helps learners with a learning problem
Learners with learning difficulties (especially dyslexia) often experience problems when learning numbers and sounds, especially the b and d sounds. In cursive writing, however, these letters are shaped in such a way that they look visually different. The learner can compare the letters in print and cursive and in this way many of the problems that these learners experience with confusing one letter with another can be solved.
- It is an art form
To be able to write well is an art form. It is something most learners can easily master if they concentrate hard enough. For those learners who may not be top performers in other subjects, it is possible to do well in cursive writing. It can motivate these learners to work harder in other subjects too.
Although cursive writing is not yet extinct, we still need to see its value. It is a skill that can be useful in the future.